Posted on May 14, 2011 at 12:41pm by Jonathon M. Seidl
“It’s time for Palestine.”
That’s the title of a recent article featured in the newsletter of the General Board of Church and Society, the advocacy wing of the United Methodist Church. And as the title insinuates, the article is very anti-Israel.
For example, just two paragraphs in, author Rev. John Calhoun talks about the recent wave of democracy sweeping the Middle East. “Unfortunately,” he writes, “one state’s undemocratic, militaristic rule over millions of civilians suffering under its administration looks likely to continue unchallenged. That state is Israel, and those living under its illegitimate control are the Palestinians of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.” [Emphasis added]
He continues: “As the world applauds heroic freedom fighters standing up to dictators and fraudulent presidents across the Middle East, widespread support for the Palestinian people’s aspirations to live free from Israeli occupation is faint.”
According to Calhoun, Methodists have a duty to take action because the Weslyan tradition supports “social activism.” And while that may sound like his own opinion initially, he quotes official church resolutions to back up his position.
“One manifestation of these efforts is the United Methodist Book of Resolutions, a volume filled with decisions on critical social, economic and political issues made over the years in the name of the denomination,” he says.
Those resolutions include one called “Opposition to Israeli Settlements in Palestinian Land:”
The United Methodist Church opposes continued military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, the confiscation of Palestinian land and water resources, the destruction of Palestinian homes, the continued building of illegal Jewish settlements, and any vision of a “Greater Israel” that includes the occupied territories and the whole of Jerusalem and its surroundings (Resolution 6073).
Then there’s another, “United Nations Resolutions on the Israel-Palestine Conflict.” Calhoun explains:
Even more significant is Resolution 6074, “United Nations Resolutions on the Israel-Palestine Conflict.” It was adopted by General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body, in 2000, then revised and readopted in 2008. It states, “The United Methodist Church calls upon Israel, the Palestinian National Authority, and all States to abide by and uphold U.N. resolutions, International Court of Justice rulings, and international law as the basis for just and lasting peace in Palestine/Israel.”
That‘s important considering what we’ve been told about the United Methodist Church in a previous article on this site. Last fall, the Board was a major supporter of the controversial “One Nation” rally — a gathering of progressives, Democrats, and even socialists — in Washington, D.C. Then, we were told that just because the Board took a position on an issue, that couldn’t be construed as representing the position of the entire church, since the church’s positions are only determined by the general council. But according to Calhoun, the church has taken an official position on the Isreali-Palestinian conflict. And it’s not supportive of Israel.
That’s also supported by how Calhoun interprets the resolutions for all United Methodists. He says the position of the church is “clear:”
The denomination affirms the will of the international community, expressed through U.N. Security Council resolutions, the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international law instruments, in condemning the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territory. The denomination opposes continued Israeli settlement building on occupied Palestinian territory. The church stands with the Palestinian Christian community, and supports Palestinian efforts towards economic and political self-determination. [Emphasis added]
As a next step, Calhoun encourages United Methodists to take part in an upcoming, week-long event called “World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.” A quick look at the event’s website reveals more anti-Israel rhetoric (couched in discussions of “peace”):
According to Calhoun, the event encourages participants to pray for Jerusalem. But he also describes opportunities for “political advocacy” and says the event will allow “church members to be further educated about the conflict, and to teach others about the need to end the injustices.” [Emphasis added]
And if the church‘s position wasn’t clear already, Calhoun concludes: “The United Methodist Church stands for an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine, and for political self-determination for its people.”
(H/T: Blaze reader Mara)